Solid surface countertops are just thatcountertops that are a solid, seamless slab of material. They can be installed as entire countertops or a specific area of the countertop, which a cook can use for rolling dough or chopping. They are common for island countertops. A solid surface countertop is an excellent choice for your countertop as they are durable, dent-resistant, stain-resistant, easily repaired.
Solid Surface Materials
The vast majority of solid surface countertops are some form of plastic. High-performing countertops are usually made primarily from acrylic with a few additives; others are an acrylic/polyester blend. Most solid surfaces are nonporous and you should make sure your installation is as well. The nonporous slab is what makes the countertop resistant to stains and can keep your countertop free from bacteria, mold, and germs. Corian is one of the most popular brands of solid surface countertops. Made from a combination of acrylic and alumina trihydrate, it's one of the highest-performing countertops available.
Stainless steel is another solid surface material that is becoming popular for countertops. It has many of the same advantages as acrylic countertops but is also heat resistant. Homeowners who choose stainless steel for their countertops often choose to extend the stainless steel to create a backsplash. Some even use the material for their entire kitchen walls. Its reflective qualities allow it to go with any element of kitchen décor. High-end stainless steel is pricey but also virtually indestructible. Lighter steel countertops can be susceptible to dents.
Versatility in Solid Surface Countertops
You might think that the solid surface limits your decorative choices for your countertop, but in fact, the exact opposite is true. The acrylic can come in essentially any color or pattern you can imagine, including imitations of common materials such as wood and stone. The countertop is first molded and designed and then can be welded together to form the solid piece countertop. The material is designed to be heated to create the solid slab, which is also why excessive heat is one of the few things that can damage the countertop. Don't set a hot pot or pan on your countertop.
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Cost and Installation
Other than susceptibility to heat, the other drawback for homeowners may simply be cost. Solid surface countertops aren't cheap. Typically, an installation costs somewhere in the range of $40-$60 per square foot, but a high-performing material with an elaborate design can top $80 per square foot, rivaling imported, exotic stone. It's a standard get-what-you-pay-for situation that should be tailored to your needs and habits. The cost can be another reason why a homeowner might choose to install this countertop only in a specific area of the kitchen. This will allow you to buy a higher quality material without blowing your budget.